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Newsletter | 11 November 2013

In this edition

More apprentices start training

Commencements of trade and non-trade apprentices increased in the September quarter, according to early trend estimates from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Trade apprentice commencements rose from 22,700 in the June quarter to a new high of 27,200 in the September quarter.

Non-trade commencements have increased in the last two quarters, from 33,700 in the March quarter to 43,600 in the September quarter. This follows a period of decline in the preceding four quarters.

Warning to international students

The NSW Government and the education sector have issued a warning to international students over the activities of the Overseas Students Association (OSA.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade & Investment Andrew Stoner said the OSA is purporting to represent international students in NSW, however, it is not supported or recognised by the NSW Government, education providers, industry peak bodies or international student organizations.

“We have acted swiftly to protect our international students with a coordinated response across Government and the education sector to the activities of the OSA which have raised some serious concerns.

“This warning offers sound advice to international students regarding the OSA and confirms that the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) is recognised as the representative body for international students in NSW,” he said.

See the media release.

VET pathway to university blocked

The idea of a pathway from vocational education and training (VET) to higher education might be good in theory, but not if the university is one of a group that restricts access to VET graduates.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has identified marked differences in the rates at which universities admit VET award holders.

Across Australia, approximately 10% of students are admitted to higher education on the basis of a VET award.

NCVER identifies three ‘clusters’ of universities based on their admission of VET students. At the top end is a group of seven universities that admit 19% of VET students. At the bottom is ‘cluster 3’—14 universities that admit just 3.3% of students based on a VET award.

The report says these low rates should be a ‘policy concern’ and may be exacerbating national skills shortages in occupations where these universities are the dominant providers.

“Not surprisingly, the Group of Eight Universities sits within Cluster 3, probably a consequence of their status and the high level of competition for places from school leavers,” the report says.

See the report, ‘A half open door: pathways for VET award holders into Australian universities.

Western Australian team heads to national awards

A talented team of finalists from Western Australia will represent the state at this year’s Australian Training Awards.

Three organisational and six individual finalists were among the winners from the WA Training Awards, while WA will also be represented in the ATA’s Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award.

Congratulating each finalist on their achievement, Department of Training and Workforce Development Director General Ruth Shean said they reflected the quality of the state’s training sector.

Winners will be announced at the Australian Training Awards in Perth on November 22.

See the finalists and more information here.

China domain name scammers active in Australia

TDA recently received an email from a supposed domain name registry office in China alerting it to the fact another company in China wished to register tda.cn as a domain name. This is a scam, as the follow up emails invite applicants to register their company or institute name with them at a hefty price.

Various websites and blogs alerted TDA to the scam.

Those interested in registering a domain name in China can go here.

Victorian government international education strategy

Two weeks ago the Victorian Government announced the release of its 2013-2018 international education strategy with a projected investment of $17.5 million. 

It outlines four strategic action areas: Market Development, Quality, Student Experience, and Marketing and Branding.

There are a total of 19 initiatives under these headings including: provision of 150 internships per year for international students to gain meaningful work experience; the establishment of a Victorian international education advisory body; and a trial public transport concession scheme for annual tickets with providers contributing to the cost.

See the strategy.

Understanding streamlined visa processing

Victorian TAFE International has developed a paper, ‘Streamlined Visa Processing: Victorian TAFE Building Best Practice’, to help providers better understand Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP).

This report details the pros and the cons of joining. It summaries the experience of universities, using data and interviews with key university staff in Victoria to outline the volume of work involved in preparing to opt into the system, and the ongoing work required to successfully monitor the risk of accepting students who may later default.

The paper is available for sale at the website.

ACCC releases free online education units

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a free online education program for tertiary institutions to help educate students about their rights and obligations under competition and consumer laws.

The modules are suitable for any student interested in competition and consumer law, and can be incorporated by tertiary institutions into a wide variety of courses.

Find out more here.

Future Unlimited applications close 18 November

The Austrade/ETS promotion of a year’s free study in Australia plus travel and living expenses has gained a great response from around the world with over 18,000 applications.

There is only one week to apply.

Partner education institutions include TDA members, TAFE NSW, RMIT and Swinburne.

More information is available here.

Skills @ Work seeking articles

The Department of Industry is calling for articles for the December 2013 edition of the Skills @ Work newsletter – the final for 2013.

If you would like to contribute an article, please write a paragraph lead in and provide a link to a relevant website for more information. As this is the last edition until February 2014, please include events and activities up to the end of February.

Email your article to skillsatwork@industry.gov.au by COB Monday 18 November 2013.

Contributions may be on, but not limited to, any of the following topics:

  • training packages news/updates
  • new vocational education and training initiatives/projects
  • new teaching and learning resources and products
  • new vocational education and training related research
  • vocational education and training conferences and professional development events.

VET pathways seminar tonight in Melbourne

There are still a few spaces left to a free thought leadership event in Melbourne tonight on the topic of educational pathways.

The forum, jointly hosted by the VET Development Centre and TDA, will consider recent research and data relating to pathways – what makes for successful transition from secondary to tertiary and from VET to higher education.

See the flyer for more information.

Diary Dates

2013 Webinar series
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: August - November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

VET Development Centre – The VET BLOG
For relevant news and articles about the VET sector
DETAILS: Click here.

2013 AAIR National Forum
Australasian Association for Institutional Research

DATE: 13-15 November
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Risk Management for Tertiary Education Sector
Australian Institute of Company Directors and Association for Tertiary Education Management

DATE: 15 November
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

conVerge13 - E-learning Conference

DATE: 21-22 November
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Training Awards
Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

DATE: 22 November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia
Flexibility: Pathways to Participation

DATE: 27-29 November
LOCATION: Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Campus
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

AVETRA 17th Annual Conference
Informing Changes in VET Policy and Practice: The Central Role of Research

DATE: 22-24 April 2014
LOCATION: Outrigger, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

'No Frills' - 23rd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference
DATE: 9-11 July 2014
LOCATION: Holmesglen, Moorabbin Campus, Melbourne, Victoria
DETAILS: Coming soon.